The Greater Manchester Engineering Challenge (GMEC)

An annual opportunity for young people between 7-13 years to experience engineering first hand and for teachers to take part in a bespoke training programme.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to communicate with other schools and pupils from different backgrounds and particularly showing them what engineering is like, showing them the aspirational side of engineering. The teamwork is just brilliant and I think it’s been fantastic, giving a lot of opportunities to our pupils.” Primary School Teacher

Would you and your pupils benefit from this type of experience?

We're taking everything on-line this year to ensure that you can access and take part in the project easily. We invite you to take part in a tried and tested project approach which includes:

  • Teacher Professional Development: Three webinars, together with brokered connections with engineering ambassadors will strengthen teachers' confidence to use real-world contexts in pupils' STEM learning. New skills will be developed including using school-friendly 3D modelling software, TinkerCad.
  • Applying maths in context - support from the Turing Maths Hub will see even greater opportunities for pupils to use their mathematical skills and understanding within the project tasks. A great opportunity to develop maths mastery.
  • GMEC Pupil Showcase All schools will be supported to create and share a GMEC Video and/or Portfolio to showcase their engineering solutions for creating sustainable communities. Linking with professional engineers from industry, they will undertake 3 core tasks to learn skills and processes in the lead up to the main challenge. Core tasks are aligned to the National Curriculum objectives and can be undertaken at times that suit the school day, from January to February half term.
  • GMEC Engineering Challengewith the focus on civil engineering and the built environment, a school-based engineering challenge will take place in March 2021. Schools can schedule their project within a 3-week window, after which they'll have opportunity to share feedback with other schools.

What is GMEC?

GMEC is designed to inspire 7-14 year olds to engage with engineering processes and scenarios using project-based tasks linked to the National Curriculum.  Pupils work in schools teams and collaborate with engineering ambassadors from industry to work on themed tasks and a Challenge Event in March. Teachers receive tailored professional development focused on embedding engineering habits of mind within the curriculum.

In March 2020, GMEC's Challenge day was hosted in the impressive surroundings of The University of Manchester’s Whitworth Hall and primary and secondary pupils from 18 Greater Manchester schools took part.  Pupils showcased their research in Sustainable Living before taking part in a large, hands-on engineering challenge.

ExtraOrdinary Spaces in 2021

Registration to take part in GMEC will open in early October 2020. Involvement is free due to the generosity of the project partners. Teacher virtual webinars will commence from December 2020 with the project culminating in April 2021. 

GMEC will:

  • inspire pupils to use and apply curriculum science, technology and mathematics in context
  • explore real-world issues related to Sustainability and Wellbeing related to our local spaces
  • raise pupil and teacher awareness of careers in engineering and the engineering design process

Working with industry – GMEC has the support of ambassadors from Balfour Beatty, Siemens, Vinci Construction and Civic Engineers, and the expertise and support from the Manchester Turing Maths Hub and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Collaboration with Class of Your Own provides GMEC participants with an extra special experience for 2021. Alison Watson MBE and Dan McDonagh , experts in working with schools to engage pupils with projects focused on the built environment, are joining forces with The University of Manchester’s SEERIH to drive towards one shared mission - to close the opportunity gap to raise attainment in science and engineering education for young people in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Take a look at the fabulous GMEC Time Lapse film!

GMEC is based on the Tinkering for Learning Research programme (The University of Manchester in partnership with The Royal Academy of Engineering). Find out more and learn how you can support young people in the Engineering Design Process and Engineering Habits of Mind.


GMEC IN THE NEWS - click through to two recent articles profiling GMEC 2020 in the Association for Science Education's  Primary Science Magazine and the Design Technology Association's D&T Practice Magazine


If you wish to contact us

Get involved in GMEC 2021!

How do I take part?

Visit the newly launched dedicated GMEC website.

© The University of Manchester